A novel biosensor interface exploiting the spontaneous surface assembly of a polycationic, PEG-grafted, biotinylated copolymer was developed and tested on optical waveguide chips in a model immunoassay based on sequential immobilization of (strept)avidin and biotinylated goat antirabbit immunoglobulin (αRIgG-biotin) as a capture molecule to sense the rabbit immunoglobulin (RIgG) target molecule. Optical waveguide lightmode spectroscopy with niobium oxide waveguiding layers was used to monitor quantitatively and in situ the spontaneous adsorption of the (biotinylated) copolymer onto the waveguide surface, the resistance of the resulting adlayer to nonspecific protein adsorption, and the mass uptakes in each step of the model immunoassay. Poly(L-lysine)-g-poly(ethylene oxide) (PLL-g-PEG) is a polycationic copolymer that adsorbs spontaneously from aqueous solutions onto negatively charged surfaces via electrostatic interactions. It forms monolayers with densely packed PEG chains. PLL-g-PEG graft copolymers carrying terminal biotin groups on 0, 20, 30, or 50% of the PEG chains were synthesized and assembled onto the surface of niobium oxide (negatively charged at neutral pH). The surface concentration of biotin was tailored by adjusting the biotin grafting ratio in the polymeric molecule or by assembling mixed [PLL-g-PEG/PEGbiotin + PLL-g-PEG] adlayers from the corresponding mixed solutions. These biotinylated surfaces are shown to be highly resistant to nonspecific adsorption from serum while still allowing for the specific surface binding of the linkage proteins: streptavidin, avidin, or neutral avidin. The amount of immobilized linkage protein is shown to be closely related to the biotin surface concentration. The subsequent adsorption behavior of αRIgG-biotin and RIgG, however, depends in a more complex manner on each individual surface modification step and is discussed in the light of specific and nonspecific interactions, as well as of orientational and steric repulsion effects within the adlayers. In terms of the sensing signal-to- background ratio, the [PLL-g-PEG/PEGbiotin//NeutrAvidin//αRIgG-biotin] architecture demonstrated particularly promising performance as an interface architecture for bioaffinity sensing of proteins.
Huang, Ning-Ping, Janos Vörös, Susan M. De Paul, Marcus Textor, Nicholas D. Spencer